Film Studies Courses



See MASTER TIMETABLE for dates, times and locations

1000 Level Courses

1022 - Introduction to Film Studies
What is a blockbuster? What is a cult film? What is digital cinema? Discover the answers to these questions and others in a broad introduction to the study of cinema. Students will learn the basic vocabulary of film studies and gain an informed understanding of the different critical approaches to film analysis. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 1022 / 001 (Evening) M. Raine Syllabus
Fall/Winter 1022 / 002 (Evening) B. Bruce Syllabus 

2000 Level Courses

2153B - American Television and Culture
This course examines the history, technology, and forms of television in the U.S. The course analyzes distinctive elements of televisual form (flow, liveness, seriality, advertising); TV's key genres (soap, sitcom, drama, news, reality); modes of reception (fandom, distraction, surfing); as well as television's construction of social difference in America. 0.5 course

Winter 2019 2153B / 001 J. Wlodarz Syllabus 

2159B - Disney (Disney Dream Factory)
Benjamin Barber in The New York Times argued “whether Disney knows it or not, it is buying much more than our leisure time. It has a purchase on our values, on how we feel and think, and what we think about.” This course offers a closer look at Disney as one of America's most long-standing “dream factories,” examining the cultural narratives, industrial strategies, fantasies and ideologies that fuel Disney’s global impact in the 20th and 21st century. In addition to analyzing key Disney animated features, we will also look at the studio’s early cartoons, educational and advertising films, nature documentaries, live action films and propaganda shorts. We will study Disney’s relationship to art, politics and ecology and also examine the “invention” of childhood, notions of “family” entertainment and constructions of race, class and gender in Disney filmmaking. Films might include Bambi, Sleeping Beauty, Tron, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Song of the South, Steamboat Willy, Fantasia, The Lion King and Frozen. 0.5 course

Winter 2019 2159B / 001 J. Blankenship Syllabus 

2164A - Animation/Anime
This course explores the power of animation as a form of audiovisual representation, with a particular emphasis on Japan. We will trace the intertwined history of film, television, video, and computer animation from short films in the 1930s to the present day media mix that incorporates comic books, light novels, video games, and toys. Japanese anime franchises will be examined from the side of production, as industrial products and artistic expressions, and from the side of reception, as semiotic texts and as objects through which consumers construct their social lives. We will also explore the further dissemination of those franchises in various kinds of fan fiction and academic discourse, and as an aspect of Japanese "soft power" in North American popular culture. All readings on the course are in English; no Japanese is required. 0.5 course

Fall 2018 2164A / 001 M. Raine Syllabus

2191F - Special Topics in Film Studies: World Cultures/Global Screens (cross-listed with Spanish 2700F and CLC 2700F)
By looking at a body of films from Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, this course aims to expose students to a wide range of questions and debates around culture and identity, while also relating these matters to circulating discourses about the Global. Depending on each case study, the consecutive units will focus on different critical approaches, alternatively addressing questions concerning the representation of racial, ethnic and cultural identities, matters of gender and female authorship, and issues of genre and stardom. 0.5 course

Fall 2018 2191F / 001 C. Burucua Syllabus

2195B - Special Topics in Film Studies: The Horror Film
Although marked by a consistently disreputable status, horror has long been one of the most popular and enduring global genres in the history of film. With deep roots in mythology, fairy tales, Gothic literature, and Freudian psychoanalysis, horror cinema continues to shock and delight audiences through tales of vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, serial killers, and other monstrous icons. And yet the basic function of the horror film—to elicit unsettling emotions of fear, shock, anxiety, and disgust—has also made the genre a frequent target of censorship and a convenient scapegoat for broader social crises and moral panics. Such controversies also speak to the crucial ways that horror cinema both explores and negotiates cultural tensions and anxieties about identity, technology, religion, difference/Otherness, and the environment. Providing an introduction to the history of horror cinema, this team-taught course will explore the key forms, styles, and thematic elements of both classic and contemporary horror films from around the world. It will also frame the analysis of major films such as Nosferatu (Murnau, 1922), The Curse of Frankenstein (Fisher, 1957), Night of the Living Dead (Romero, 1968), and The Exorcist (Friedkin, 1973) in relation to their specific industrial and cultural contexts, paying close attention to both the perception and reception of horror audiences as well as the genre’s allegorical potential.

Key topics to be discussed include: fears and anxieties addressed by horror cinema; cultural traditions of horror; horror and repression/the unconscious; bodily horrors; supernatural vs. psychological horror; normality and monstrosity; gender and sexuality in horror cinema; horror and technology; fandom and the pleasures of horror. 0.5 course

Winter 2019 2195B / 001 C. Gittings Syllabus

2230F - Critical Reading and Writing in Film Studies
This course will build on skills and knowledge acquired in Film 1022 to engage students in the critical practices involved in reading various genres of writing in Film Studies. In addition to writing their own film reviews, students will learn research skills that prepare them for writing critical essays on cinema. 0.5 course

Fall 2018 2230F / 001 B. Bruce Syllabus

2254F - Classical Hollywood Cinema
This course traces a history of American film from the silent period to the end of the studio era. Topics include the establishment of the Hollywood style, major directors/genres, as well as key industrial, technological, and cultural factors in the development of Hollywood cinema. 0.5 course

Fall 2018 2254F / 001 J. Wlodarz Syllabus

2258G - Canadian Cinema: Documents, Storytelling, Experiments
Beginning in the silent period and extending into the twenty-first century, this course seeks to answer historical, cultural, ideological and aesthetic questions about Canadian cinema. We will explore how cinema has reflected the complex and unstable notion of Canada as a nation, focusing upon issues of representation as well as problems of production, distribution and exhibition as these are grounded in political economy. Additionally, we will consider the transnational flows between the Canadian film industry, Hollywood, and other global film industries through co-production and casting. Questions addressed include: What is the influence of the documentary tradition on Canadian cinema as a whole? Is there an innate division between Canadian “art” cinema and popular cinema? What are the relationships of First Nations, regional, diasporic and queer cinemas to a Canadian national cinema? Does Canadian cinema embody two linguistic, cultural and industrial “solitudes” or are there in fact a range of Canadian cinemas? How have history, immigration and economics shaped Canadian cinema? What roles can genre play in understanding Canadian cinema?  How do gender, sexuality, race and class inflect the representation of Canadian nation on screen? 0.5 course

Winter 2019 2258G / 001 C. Gittings Syllabus

3000 Level Courses

3311G - Special Topics in Film Studies: Women Filmmakers (cross-listed with Spanish 3901G and Women's Studies 3357G)
This course will explore the notion of film authorship in relation to its utterances and implications when associated to the praxis of contemporary women film directors, from the early 1960s to the present. While troubling the notion of women’s cinema, its definition, limits and limitations, a wide range of case studies – films emerging from dissimilar contexts of production and reception – will be mostly read and discussed in the light of feminist approaches to questions about gender and representation. In this sense, the course will also offer a historical and critical overview of feminist scholarship within film studies and of the ongoing debates in this area of study. 0.5 course

Winter 2019 3311G / 001 C. Burucua Syllabus

3340G - Japanese National Cinema
This course focuses on both Japan and the cinema: each week will present a specific historical context and a film that speaks to a particular aspect of film studies. For example, we will consider the relation between traditional aesthetics and Japanese cinema; the mass culture of 1930s Japan and theories of "vernacular modernism"; the war film and propaganda; genre theory and postwar melodrama; J-Horror; trendy dramas; and Japanese animation. We will of course pay attention to geniuses of Japanese cinema such as Mizoguchi, Ozu, and Kurosawa but we will also study popular films, and the connections between cinema and parallel institutions such as radio, television, and the record industry, as well as intermedia connections between cinema and theatre, literature, manga, and anime. All readings on the course are in English; no Japanese is required. 0.5 course

Winter 2019 3340G / 001 M. Raine Syllabus

3352F - Queer Cinema (cross-listed with Women's Studies 3345F)
This course will explore the history, politics, and aesthetics of queer film, particularly the representation of queer culture and identity as well as the policing of non-normative sexualities. Course topics may include: Hollywood and the Celluloid Closet, queer independent cinema, and transgender film. 0.5 course

Fall 2018 3352F / 001 (Evening) J. Wlodarz Syllabus

3356F - Avante-Garde Cinema
An exploration of a variety of marginal film practices and modes of production through an historical consideration of the major trends and developments in European, American, and Canadian avant-garde. Films will be analyzed in relation to the theoretical issues they raise, specifically, feminist theory and practice, film formalism, and spectatorship. 0.5 course

Fall 2018 3356F / 001 T. Nagl Syllabus

3357F - Science Fiction Cinema
This course explores the history and development of Science Fiction cinema from the silent period to today’s CGI-saturated spectacles. Major themes include: the aesthetics of science fiction, modernity and social change, utopias/dystopias, technophobia/technophilia, identity/otherness, biopolitics, afrofuturism, set design, special effects and the “cinema of attractions”. 0.5 course

Fall 2018 3357F / 001 T. Nagl Syllabus

3368F - Film Production
This course will explore the stylistic functions of basic film elements, e.g., camera movement, editing, sound, and colour, through the analysis and production of films. 0.5 course

Fall 2018 3368F / 001 G. De Souza Syllabus 

3371G - Film Theory
This course will investigate major writings in two areas of classical film theory: the realism-formalism debate and the auteur theory. Additional topics in film poetics and semiotics will also be discussed. 0.5 course

Winter 2019 3371G / 001 T. Nagl Syllabus

3373F - Reframing National Cinemas
This course will provide students with a rigorous interrogation of national cinema informed by theories of identity, nation, and globalization developed by such figures as Benedict Anderson, Arjun Appadurai, Etienne Balibar, Homi Bhabha, Stuart Hall, bell hooks, Roland Robertson and Edward Said. Students will trouble notions of nation as an organic, homogeneous, unitary entity before shifting into a study of ideology and cinematic representations of nation, distribution and the political economies that structure the production of national and transnational cinemas. Readings of the ‘national’ will be underpinned by understandings of history, class, gender, race and sexuality. Films from various colonial, postcolonial, national and diasporic cinemas will be examined in the context of debates about what constitutes the terrain of national cinema. To this end we will read essays by such leading national cinema scholars as Stephen Crofts, Andrew Higson, Susan Hayward, Marsha Kinder, Ella Shohat, Robert Stam, Philip Rosen, Fernando Solanos and Octavio Getino. 1-3 hour lecture/screening, 2 lecture/seminar hours, 0.5 course

Fall 2018 3373F / 001 C. Gittings Syllabus

3374F - Documentary Film - CANCELLED
This course will examine the development of film documentary, from Lumière in the 1890s to the modern docudrama. 0.5 course

Fall 2018 3374F / 001 J. Blankenship Syllabus

3397G - Berlin to Hollywood: German Exile Cinema (cross-listed with German 3397G and CLC 3391G)
This course focuses on German directors and actors who emigrated to the U.S. before and after the Nazi seizure of power, including Fritz Lang, Marlene Dietrich and Ernst Lubitsch. Topics include: expressionism, film noir, diaspora/exile, historical trauma, the anti-Nazi film/anti-fascist aesthetics, the Hollywood studio system, importing/exporting entertainment. 0.5 course

Winter 2019 3397G / 001 T. Nagl Syllabus

4000 Level Courses

4409E - Undergraduate Thesis
Individual instruction in the selection of a topic, the preparation of materials, and the writing of a thesis. Students who wish to take this course must apply to the Chair of the Department. The course is restricted to students in fourth year of an Honors Specialization in Film Studies. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 4409E / 001 Various Consent Form 

4495FG - Film Academic Internship
Third or fourth year students enrolled in a honors, major or specialization in Film Studies, who have a modular average of 75% are eligible for an internship within an approved media-related organization. The student must find a faculty supervisor willing to oversee and grade his/her final paper. 0.5 course

Fall/Winter 4495FG / 001 Various Internship Guidelines


Distance Studies (May 7-Jul 27)

2166A - Zombie Film
This course considers how this horror subgenre has developed over the past century and why it continues to resonate with filmmakers and filmgoers. Using various approaches, we’ll examine the cultural anxieties the films raise in relation to such issues as gender, sexuality, race, capitalism, technology, religion, and the environment.

Summer 2166A / 650 Instructor: B. Bruce Syllabus 

Course listings are subject to change. See Academic Timetable for date, time, and location of specific courses. See Undergraduate Sessional Dates for more details and deadlines for 2017 and 2018.

Previous Courses Offered & Course Outlines